On this day in 1900, the state of Texas granted a charter to the Rosenberg Library Association of Galveston. The Rosenberg Library, successor to the Galveston Mercantile Library, which was founded in 1871, is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. With funding provided through a bequest from Henry Rosenberg, the Rosenberg Library Association was organized in 1900 as a private corporation to give free library service to all Galvestonians. In 1903 Frank C. Patten was appointed to supervise the completion of the library, which opened in June 1904. A year later the Rosenberg absorbed the collections of the Galveston Public Library, thus formalizing its new role as the public library for the city of Galveston. Since that time the library has compiled outstanding collections of manuscripts, maps, artifacts, and printed items.
On this day in 1844, William Bollaert, writer, chemist, geographer, and ethnologist, left Texas. Bollaert was born in England in 1807. After training in chemistry, he took a position at the Royal Institution while only thirteen years old and worked for several eminent scientists, including Michael Faraday. At age eighteen he sailed for Peru, where he worked as an assayer in the silver-mining province of Tarapacá. After living in Portugal and Spain for a number of years, Bollaert journeyed to the Republic of Texas at the behest of his friend William Kennedy, who was subsequently appointed British consul at Galveston. He reached the coastal town in 1842. During the next two years he traveled extensively throughout Texas and wrote not only a formal report for the British Admiralty but also a very detailed journal, which he hoped to use as material for a book. After returning to England, he wrote prolifically about history, ethnology, science, and travel, but produced only a few scattered articles about Texas. Bollaert died in London in 1876. In 1956 editors W. Eugene Hollon and Ruth Lapham Butler published his original "Texas Manuscript," consisting of six diaries and two volumes of journals, under the title William Bollaert's Texas . It remains one of the most important sources of information on the Republic of Texas and its people.
On this day in 1964, Henry John Steinbomer died in San Antonio, where he had been born in 1902. He was a zealous restorer and preserver of historic buildings in this city notable for its architecture. Steinbomer cofounded the Historic Buildings Foundation, which restored a number of early buildings before merging with the San Antonio Conservation Society. For the society he helped restore the home of José Antonio Navarro and initiated the Index of Historic San Antonio Buildings. As an architect he designed more than 100 churches across Texas. Among these are the Church of the Good Shepherd and Methodist Student Center, Austin; St. Bartholomew's Episcopal and Parkdale Baptist in Corpus Christi; First Avenue Lutheran, Galveston; St. Paul Lutheran and First Methodist, McAllen; First Presbyterian, Midland; Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Mark's Presbyterian, San Angelo; St. Luke's Episcopal, Jefferson Methodist, and Central Christian, San Antonio; the chapel of Texas Lutheran College, Seguin; and Trinity Lutheran, Victoria.
On this day in 1783, Domingo Cabello y Robles, Spanish governor of Texas, issued a bando, or ordinance, imposing strict guidelines for the roundup, branding, and export of unbranded cattle. At the time, the province was in the midst of a protracted livestock controversy. Cattle rustling between vecinos and missions, depletion of cattle through wasteful slaughter and excessive exports, and noncompliance with an ordinance of January 1778 were holdovers from the administration of Cabello's predecessor, Juan María de Ripperdá. Enforcing existing regulations and preventing illegal exports became Cabello's major concerns. Cabello's enforcement of livestock regulations resulted in much animosity from ranchers. Soon after his departure from the province in 1787, the ranchers filed a memorial against Cabello charging him with arbitrary and unjust decrees and misrepresentations that denied them rights to unbranded cattle. The case did not adversely affect his career, for by 1797 Cabello had reached the rank of field marshall.